Weak link in India’s growth story ,Women entrepreneurship

 The weak link in India’s growth story says Women entrepreneurship 

The weak link in india’s growth story says Women entrepreneurship icchori.com

India stands at the cusp of transformation, being the fifth largest economy within the world while proudly recording the very best GDP growth, amounting to annual growth of roughly six to seven per cent. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s nominal GDP has seen a seven hundred jump since the year 1995. The IMF also projects India’s GDP growth at 7.2 per cent by FY 2025-26, despite the 7.3 per cent contraction of the country’s GDP in FY 2020-2021 (NSSO Survey).
India’s growth story lies in its macroeconomic policies concerning reforms to bring stability, resilience, and a conducive environment for disruptions, also as safeguards from shocks. A new inflation-targeting framework, energy subsidy reforms, fiscal consolidation, higher quality of public expenditure and a stable balance of payment situation has increased the share of investments, exports and consumption, brought productivity gains and diversified the economy.
Moreover, the country has witnessed various reiterations of the government’s commitment towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NITI Aayog released an SDG Index 2020-21 to bring together the economic, social, and environmental pillars in the country, with a focus on their partnerships and collaborations. The commitment of the government, specifically in respect of SDG 5 i.e., Gender Equality, maybe a significant step towards achieving gender equality by ending all sorts of discrimination, and calls for valuing women’s unpaid care and domestic work amongst other things. Additionally, SDG 5 is interlinked to other SDGs like End Poverty, Zero Hunger, Health for All, Quality Education, etc. With a score of sixty in the SDG Index 2021, India’s success in bringing about inclusive and sustainable growth is well underway. To achieve Gender Equality through the socio-economic empowerment lens, the government has introduced large-scale programmes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, MUDRA Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to bring about equality at the workplace in respect of gaining access to employment and entrepreneurship for women.
Why then, do India’s women remain absent from India’s growth story?
Despite the economic contribution of women increasing considerably in the last decade, the female labour force participation has been recorded at only thirty-two per cent of the entire population. In terms of employment, fifty-two per cent of the workforce is self-employed as own-account workers or helpers, thirty per cent as casual workers, while only around eighteen per cent have regular jobs. Within the fifty-two per cent self-employed workforce, women constitute only a dismissal portion i.e., 13.78 per cent. As a result, the potential of girls entrepreneurship as a tool to realize socio-economic empowerment and equity remains underutilised.
To ascertain the challenges in respect of women’s access and opportunities to resources for enterprise development and sustenance, EdelGive Foundation conducted the “Landscape Study on Women Entrepreneurship” with a sample size of 1,235 women from thirteen states in India. According to the study, despite the availability of government schemes and benefits for women entrepreneurs, eighty-four per cent of the women still relied on their husbands, family members or sold their assets for financial support towards setting up and sustaining an enterprise. Moreover, only eleven per cent of the women reported that they were aware of the available benefits, even though less than a third of the eleven per cent availed of the benefits due to the worry that they would not be able to pay back the loans, which would result in further distress for their families. According to a study conducted by OECD in the year 2019, relatively more male entrepreneurs made use of bank loans to start their enterprises, regardless of collaterals, as against women. Further, the planet Bank report on “Measuring Financial Inclusion: the worldwide Findex Database” revealed that only twenty-seven per cent of girls enjoy formal lending institutions.
Due to deep-rooted socio-economic challenges, India’s women are unable to realize access to employment and a stable income to support their families. The bouquet of barriers to accessing finance, raw materials, marketing facilities and technology often limit women entrepreneurs in realising their dreams of achieving agency and empowerment.


However, through concerted efforts from NGOs, civil society organisations, government institutions and because of revolutionary reforms in financial institutions through Self Help Groups, women are emerging as resilient powerhouses that can further the Indian economy. It is pertinent to notice that women entrepreneurship does not only advance a woman’s economic standing but also enables her children to realize access to raised quality education, better health and nutrition, clean water and sanitation and higher overall economic indicators that help break the cycle of poverty.
The government of Odisha also aligns with the need to create policies that, in turn, advance the creation of a conducive and enabling entrepreneurship ecosystem through infrastructure, capacity building and advancing knowledge and learning. As a result of the government-led prioritisation of women’s entrepreneurship, Odisha’s commitment towards the cause has been realised through the grassroots movement of Self-Help Groups and civil society organizations. With provisions for financial linkages, awareness initiatives around government schemes and capacity building through entrepreneurship and soft skills training, SHGs and CSOs have inculcated the spirit of a women entrepreneur, now deeply embedded in self-reliance even in tribal areas of the state. In this light, Odisha’s ‘Start-Up-Policy” is uniquely designed to put inclusion at the centre of its advancement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through a plethora of schemes and benefits like Mission Shakti, Start-Up Odisha and Skilled-In Odisha alongside connected enabling regulations, the state has championed the explanation for women entrepreneurship, with a vision of creating a level playing field, in partnership with all the relevant stakeholders.


 India’s commitment to SDG 5 for Gender Equality positions is itself a prerequisite to achieving the$ 5 trillion- dollar- economy- a dream. Overall impetus through prioritisation of awareness at the grassroots, sensitization of family members and further reforms within financial institutions can create a conducive environment for women entrepreneurs to flourish and become independent. State-position prioritisation through proper implementation, with inter-departmental coordination ( such as in Odisha), could also help to advance India’s commitment towards an inclusive, just and equitable society. With interlinkages to other SDG indicators of advanced norms of living, decent work, affordable and clean energy, and peace and justice, achieving Gender Equality can work India’s standing globally and stand true to the expectation of it being the fastest-growing, utmost inclusive and progressive frugality in the world. 

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